Panama Leaks: SC asks PTI counsel to elaborate on Sharifs' businesses

A five-member larger bench headed by CJP Anwar Zaheer Jamali heard the case


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to elaborate about the businesses owned by the Sharif family saying the court cannot review political statement, nor can it announce a verdict on the basis of news reports.

A five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali resumed the hearing of Panama Leaks case on Wednesday. The bench asked PTI counsel to elaborate as to wherefrom the capital for Jeddah steel mill came and how was the money transferred to London.

The judges told the PTI attorney if Sharif family's link with offshore companies prior to 2006 is established then the entire burden would be shifted on them (Sharifs).

"We cannot review political statements and if a verdict was announced on the basis of news reports then your client may also have to face difficulty," the judges said.

The Supreme Court in its remarks said that the Sharif family had not presented documents for companies it had mentioned. In fact, documents had been hidden from the court, the apex court said.

“Why were the documents hidden?” the court asked Akram Sheikh, the lawyer for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's children.

If you say that you are a shareholder, you will have to give evidence, Justice Azmat Saeed remarked.

The new legal team of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) presented the case before the bench, after the party's appointed lawyer and senior party leader, Hamid Khan, recused himself from representing the party in the Panama Leaks case taken up by the Supreme Court.

The hearing has been adjourned till December 6.

PTI questions money trail for London flats

During the hearing today PTI questioned the money trail through which the London flats owned by the Prime Minister’s children were bought.

Naeem Bukhari, lead counsel for PTI who replaced Hamid Khan started off the hearing confidently. On a lighter note he told Justice Azmat Saeed, "It seems like today you will get angry at me."

To which Justice Azmat said, "Please present your case. And do not flatter me."

Bukhari said the prime minister lied in his address to the nation and was involved in tax evasion. He said that Maryam Nawaz is the beneficiary owner of the London flats, adding that the trust deed between Maryam and Hussain Nawaz did not prove much.

Bukhari called for the court to take action against the NAB chairman for failing to perform its duties.

The bench agreed that there were discrepancies in the Prime Minister’s speech in the National Assembly and the documents submitted by his children in the court.

Justice Ijaz ul Hassan said that according to documents submitted by the prime minister's children, they invested 12 million Dirhams with the Qatar royal family.

While in his speech the prime minister had said that this investment was used by the Prime Minister’s children, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said.

Jeddah factory comes under discussion

Bukhari brought the court’s attention to a Jeddah steel mill bought in 2007. He said that the London flats were bought before buying this factory.

Justice Azmat Saeed said that the documents submitted by the prime minister's children only speak about the Dubai steel mill but do not mention where investment for the Jeddah Steel Mill came from. He said that the documents also don't mention that the investment was used to purchase the London flats.

Naeem Bukhari asked if it had been mentioned that loan had been taken from banks for the Jeddah factory.

"How did he get loan from Saudi banks?" Justice Ijaz ul Hassan asked. "How much was the Jeddah factory sold for?"

Bukhari said the Prime Minister claimed that in June 2004 the factory was sold for $17 million. He added that the prime minister had said that he had submitted all documents in the court.

Justice Azmat Saeed said that the documents might be available everywhere but they have not been submitted in the court.

Bukhari said that the London flats were bought between 1993 and 1996.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said that these were the sources of income through which the London flats were bought. He added that in two different documents submitted there were no similarities between signatures of Tariq Shafiq.

Naeem Bukhari said that Shahbaz Sharif had forged Tariq Shafiq's signature.

How did Tariq Shafiq transfer money to Qatar, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa asked.

Naeem Bukhari told the court that prime minister had lied and hid evidence, therefore he is neither Sadiq nor Ameen, and should be disqualified.

 London flats were in use by PM's children: Jehangir Tareen

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Speaking to the media outside the Supreme Court, PTI leader Jehangir Tareen said today discrepancies in the prime minister's statements were presented in the court.

He said that the prime minister had lied to the nation in his speech in the National Assembly.

Tareen said that when the Dubai mill was sold it was in a loss. The prime minister said that the mill was sold in 2005 and the flats were bought. "However we presented documents to prove that the prime minister's children were using these flats since 2001."

Asad Umer, speaking to journalists said that the government had told so many lies that it was finding it difficult to prove their point. "In the trust deed filed in the court the two offshore companies have not been mentioned," he said.

Fawad Chaudhry, who is PTI's spokesperson for the Panama Leaks case, said that documents submitted by the government show discrepancies in figures and dates.

Changing lawyers will not help you win case: Talal Chaudhry

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Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz leader Talal Chaudhry said that changing lawyers will not help PTI win the case. "You have hired an actor as a lawyer," he said. 

"Those who want take down Nawaz Sharif will fall themselves," he said.

"If your bio-pic is made you will be embarrassed," he said without naming Imran Khan. "But that film will not be something you can watch with everyone," he added. 

Abid Sher Ali asked PTI, "Where are the liars who said they had evidence against the Prime Minister?" He added that the court asks for evidence not newspaper clippings.

Media made it impossible to lead case: Hamid Khan

A few days ago while speaking to Geo News, Hamid Khan had said, “After media’s campaign against me, it was not possible to continue with the case proceedings.”

“We lawyers have our own way of presenting a case, which is why I refused to continue with the case,” adding that he had informed Imran Khan that he cannot "fight the battle on the media front."

Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali ahead of the hearing said the media should show responsibility over Panama Leaks and that it should be refrained from commenting over the case. He added that the media's comments can affect the case.